Council Welcomes Officials from City of Changchun to Newry
Senior officials from the Jilin Province, China, were welcomed to Newry Council Offices on Monday, 19 November by a delegation from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade.
The visit followed on from an earlier international relations engagement in October 2018 by the Council, Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade and Southern Regional College to the City of Changchun, the capital and largest city in Jilin province. At this time the three organisations signed an Executive Programme of Friendly Exchanges Agreement with Changchun city, Changchun Chamber for International Trade and Changchun Vocational College. The visit was supported by the NI Bureau in China and the Confucius Institute in Ulster University, Belfast, who also signed an agreement with Jilin University.
Officials from the Jilin delegation included Mr JIN, the Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of People’s Congress of Jilin Provincial, and Madam WANG Shuying, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China. The focus of the visit to the district was future opportunities for co-operation in trade, education, skills and culture.
Chairman, Cllr Mark Murnin said, “We are delighted to welcome the delegation from Jilin Province to Newry, Mourne and Down and further reinforce our growing partnership. In October we were able to confirm our commitment to Changchun through the official signing of Friendly Exchange Agreements with the City of Changchun, the Changchun Municipal Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of Trade, and the Changchun Vocational Institute of Technology. We believe our Friendly Exchange Agreements are a progressive step forward.
“Newry, Mourne and Down has a unique offering, particularly across our business base, tourism, and our education and skills. Through the exchange of information and cooperation in areas such as trade, education, skills, tourism and leisure, we can grow together to develop our regions for the benefit of our communities, our businesses and our visitors”.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr JIN outlined the full support of the Jilin Government to deepen the relationship between Newry, Mourne and Down and Changchun city. In particular Mr JIN remarked on the strengths of our region in digital technology, manufacturing and health and life science industries, which provide opportunities were both regions can learn from each other and gain mutual benefits.
Speaking on behalf of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, Mr Paul Convery explained the significance of this visit to Newry, “On our visit to Changchun, we spoke of the economic strengths of our district, our business base and our key growth sectors, which we hope to develop through future international exchange relations with China. Welcoming in Newry today a senior delegation of officials from Jilin is a significant achievement in our relationship.”
Southern Regional College, who have established an Exchange Agreement with Changchun Vocational College, have also expressed their commitment for furthering this relationship and are in the progress of building an Engagement Programme with Changchun Vocational College.
The Confucius Institute at Ulster University Belfast, supported the Jilin delegation while on their visit to Northern Ireland. Madam Yan Liu stated, “Today’s visit was a significant step forward following the Council’s first visit to Changchun in October.”
Madam Yan Liu continued, “I am delighted to also confirm that in December a delegation of Post Graduate medical students from Jilin University will also visit the district. In the short time frame from returning from our visit to Changchun, we have these opportunities to start and explore how we can better work and support each other.”
In conclusion of the meeting, Chairman, Cllr Mark Murnin and Mr JIN exchanged gifts, which is an important symbol of the new partnership and forms part of the process of building a strong business relationship with Chinese officials.